March 2003 News

Nadimarg KPs Agree To Stay

31 March 2003
The Indian Express

Jammu: The 28-odd survivors of the Nadimarg massacre have decided for now not to migrate from the Valley after state authorities assured them of adequate security. The families of the victims of the carnage would commemorate the 10-day ritual on Tuesday in Nadimarg which would mark the end of mourning. To bolster security in the village, an additional company of the CRPF has been deployed apart from increasing the strength of the police post to 18 personnel. Anantnag Deputy Commissioner Shailender Kumar, who visited the village today, said survivors have decided to stay and observe all the rituals there. 'Certain people were pressing them to migrate to Jammu. We just asked them to think carefully before taking any decision. We didn't force them as is the impression being created by a section of the press,' he said. Officials accused Kashmiri Pandits (KP) migrants based in Jammu of instigating the survivors into migrating from the Valley. 'This fits with their agenda of souring communal harmony in the state. They even accused the state government of holding the KPs as hostages,' said one official. Meanwhile, the KPs who continued to stay in the Valley even during peak militancy in the early '90s, have started arriving in Jammu. Nine families comprising 66 members have already arrived since Friday. All of them belong to places far from Nadimarg. Political observers say that the recent statement by Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani about providing all facilities to those who wish to move to safer places has prompted fresh migration by Pandits. Otherwise, they had continued to stay in the Valley despite worse massacres -like Wandhama (Ganderbal) in Srinagar where militants had gunned down 25 Pandits in 1997 or the 1999 massacre of 15 Hindu labourers in Anantnag or the killings of 35 Sikhs at Chittisinghpora in 2000. Kashmiri Pandits point out that over an year ago, to discourage fresh exodus from the Valley, then ruling National Conference government had stopped their registration at Jammu till the migrating family gave satisfactory reasons for moving. Now Pandits from other parts of the Valley have been reaching Jammu. 'They (administration) are intercepting trucks to dissuade Pandits from migrating to Jammu,' said Ashwani Kumar Bhat - a medical department employee, who migrated along with his father, wife and two children from Magam. His brother, Krishan Lal has also come to Jammu along with his family. Most of them have come in Tata Sumos to avoid interception by the local administration. Sources in the RSS, however, say Advani had also assured adequate security to those Pandits who want to stay in the Valley. Pointing out that minority community members migrated from areas attacked by militants earlier as well, RSS sources rule out migration by Pandits from the Valley except Nadimarg.


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